If you’re a fan of the Historical Romance or Romantic Suspense genres, odds are you’ve heard of Julie Garwood! Garwood’s thrillingly romantic novels have been a prominent part of the romance genre for three decades now, and needless to say, there are plenty of them.
So, how can you figure out which one to read first? Don’t worry; that’s what this article is for! Keep reading to see all of Garwood’s novels ranked from best to worst–and decide for yourself which ones you want to start reading first.
About Julie Garwood
Julie Garwood is a New York Times bestselling author who published her first novel in 1985 and has published more than thirty books since then. She’s written in the Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, and Romantic Suspense genres.
Her steamy romance novels easily transport readers through different time periods, the worlds that she creates in her novels are always vivid, and her multidimensional characters bring plenty of humor and drama to her stories.
With six series and seven standalone novels, Garwood has surely written something for everyone! So, read on to find the best Julie Garwood books–and decide which ones are the right ones for you!
Best Julie Garwood Books – All Her Novels Ranked
Slow Burn (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna series)
It should come as no surprise that Garwood’s ever-popular romantic suspense, Slow Burn, is ranked number one on this list!
Kate MacKenna’s life is in shambles.
She’s almost killed by an explosion, her successful fragrance company is in jeopardy, her sister’s ex-boyfriend threatens her, her best friend is in the hospital for surgery, and she ends up having a one-night stand with her friend’s brother, Dylan.
Kate allows herself to have a well-deserved breakdown and then decides to get back on track, determined to save her business and get her life together.
But upon going to check on her after their passionate night together, Dylan discovers that there are quite a few people who want Kate dead.
The Lion’s Lady (Crown’s Spies Series)
One of Garwood’s iconic earlier works, The Lion’s Lady, is a historical romance filled with humor, wit, passion, and two romantic interests with a burning desire for one another.
Christina Bennett has become the talk of London society, but the stunningly beautiful woman’s mysterious past remains a secret.
However, when the arrogant nobleman, Lyon, Marquis of Lyonwood, steals a kiss from her, he becomes determined to possess her. Their sensuous kiss has convinced him that there is a fire burning beneath her seemingly cool surface, and he wants to stick around long enough to witness the flames.
But Christina–as feisty and bellicose as always–resists Lyon’s advances, unwilling to risk her secret being exposed and her destiny being ruined by her attachment to a man.
Castles (Crown’s Spies Series)
In another of Garwood’s most captivating historical romance novels, Castles, Princess Alesandra is sent away from the convent she’s lived in since her parents died to live with her guardian instead.
Colin–the younger brother of the Marquess of Cainewood and son of her guardian–must take on the role of Alesandra’s caretaker when his parents, wife, and older brother become ill.
Things become complicated quickly when Alesandra tells him she needs protection from the turmoil in her own land–protection in the form of marriage, no less. It’s only after Alesandra is nearly abducted by her countrymen that Colin realizes she’s truly in danger and agrees to marry her–in name only!
But soon, his attraction to Alesandra becomes undeniable, and suddenly, he’s willing to risk everything to save Alesandra and make their marriage a real one.
Mercy (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
In this exciting thriller, attorney Theo Buchanan is in New Orleans to receive an award for his work with the Department of Justice when he suddenly becomes ill.
His life is saved when a beautiful woman who he doesn’t know rushes him to the hospital.
Michelle Renard is a brilliant and accomplished surgeon, and Theo finds himself fascinated by her; but before he can get to know her better, she leaves New Orleans to return to her small clinic in Bowen.
When Theo sets out to find her in order to thank her, he ends up finding more than he bargained for. Michelle is being stalked; her home has recently been broken into, and, worst of all, her clinic has been destroyed.
Determined to return the favor, Theo vows to save Michelle’s life since she saved his, but will he be too late?
Fire and Ice (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
Sophie Rose, a determined newspaper reporter–and daughter of a notorious thief who’s currently being sought out by every law-enforcement agency in the country–quits her high-profile job after being asked to write an exposé on her father for the Chicago Daily.
She takes up a job at a small newspaper where she covers local personalities such as a quirky winner of several 5K races–who is later found dead in Alaska with Sophie’s business card in his pocket.
He’s seemingly the victim of a brutal death by a polar bear, but the Alaskan police force wants to know why he was carrying Sophie’s card.
Sophie heads north to investigate and get a good story, but after an attempt on her life, the FBI assigns her a bodyguard.
Jack MacAlister is an arrogant, assertive, yet overwhelmingly sexy thorn in Sophie’s side.
However, the two of them form an uneasy alliance as they fight both their ever-growing attraction to one another and the powerful forces that will stop at nothing to prevent the exposure of the sinister conspiracy Sophie and Jack is about to uncover.
The Ideal Man (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
Dr. Ellie Sullivan’s life takes a drastic turn after she witnesses the shooting of an FBI agent pursuing a dangerous Bonnie and Clyde-esque criminal duo, the Landrys.
The only witness to the shooter’s face, Ellie ends up at the center of a criminal investigation led by handsome agent Max Daniels.
Max is rough around the edges, but Ellie is immediately drawn to him. Their feelings for each other are just as intense as the investigation, but falling for each other is out of the question due to their circumstances. Will they be able to resist each other’s charms?
Hotshot (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
Hotshot is a romantic suspense with a headstrong heroine and a swoon-worthy FBI Agent of a hero.
The steamy novel follows Peyton Lockhart and her sisters as they attempt to run a resort they inherited, and Finn McBain, who’s saved Peyton’s life before and may need to do it again soon.
The story’s summary speaks for itself!
“Peyton Lockhart and her sisters have inherited Bishop’s Cove, a small, luxurious oceanfront resort, but it comes with a condition: The girls must run the resort for one year and show a profit—only then will they own it.
A graduate of a prestigious French culinary school, Peyton has just lost her job as a food critic.
Out of work and in a bad place personally, a year doing something completely different sounds wonderful.
There are countless challenges and too many people who want to stop the sisters from succeeding.
Among them are Peyton’s contentious cousins, who are outraged that they didn’t inherit the resort, as well as a powerful group of land developers who have been eyeing the coveted beachfront property.
It’s soon apparent to Peyton that their efforts are being sabotaged, but she refuses to let the threats scare her—until she’s nearly killed.
She calls on her childhood friend and protector, Finn MacBain, now with the FBI, and asks for his help. He saved her life once; he can do it again.”
Gentle Warrior (Standalone novel)
After surviving the massacre that killed her family and forced her into exile, Elizabeth Montwright returns to her ancestral castle disguised as a peasant seeking aid from the powerful Baron Geoffrey Berkley, who had helped rout the murderers.
Geoffrey doesn’t give in to her demands but instead becomes determined to seduce her, even as he agrees to champion her cause.
Even while Elizabeth attempts to fight off his advances, she finds herself falling in love with the courageous man who’s stolen her heart.
Together they try to solve the mystery of her family’s murder while falling in love, building trust with one another, and figuring out what loyalty means to them.
Honor’s Splendour (Standalone novel)
If you’re looking for a good medieval romance, Honor’s Splendour is the one for you!
In medieval England, Lady Madelyne suffers under the cruelty of her brother, Baron Louddon, in the feuding English court–until Baron Duncan of Wexton seeks vengeance and captures Madelyne as a prize.
Despite his rough exterior, Duncan pledges to protect Madelyne after succumbing to her beauty and soon falls in love with her. In his crude castle, Duncan proves true to his honor and keeps Madelyne perfectly safe.
And Madelyne surrenders to her strong feelings for him with all her soul.
Saving Grace (Standalone novel)
Another story set in medieval England, Saving Grace, follows Lady Johanna, a young widow who has vowed never to marry again–but King John has other plans for her.
When he demands that she remarry, her foster brother suggests his friend, Gabriel MacBain, a Scottish warrior.
Gabriel is gruff and intimidating at first, but over time, he proves to be a gentle, tender, and loving man who’ll stop at nothing to keep Johanna happy.
Their happiness is threatened by a royal intrigue that could rip Johanna away from Gabriel and destroy the man she loves. Soon she must decide whether to fight for her love or to give in to the demands of the king to ensure Gabriel’s safety.
Prince Charming (Standalone novel)
In Prince Charming, Taylor Stapleton is devastated when her fiancé elopes with her cousin.
Lady Esther–one of London’s richest and most dominant matriarchs–is the only one who knows of Taylor’s heartbreak, and now she’s on her deathbed, awaiting her demise. But first, she’s determined to help Taylor pull off the scam of the season!
To escape her unethical uncle, Taylor weds Lucas Ross–a rugged American rancher–with the help of her grandmother’s money, which would allow Lucas to return to his home in Montana.
The two agree to part ways once they make it to America, and Taylor has her own reasons for going to the United States, but as she and her new husband make the journey through the open spaces of Montana, she begins to plan a new future with him.
The Prize (Standalone novel)
Another beloved historical romance read, The Prize follows Lady Nicholaa, a Saxon captive who is forced to marry a Norman noble.
She chooses Royce, a fierce warrior who happens to be quite chivalrous at heart.
Nicholaa is rebellious and determined to bend Royce to her will despite the feelings steadily arising for him.
Royce is surprised by the intensity and depth of his emotions for his charming bride. However, their newfound love is threatened by the hostile climate of Saxon-Norman politics.
Shadow Dance (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
Jordan Buchanan attends the wedding of her brother and best friend, but a professor crashes the event and claims that an ancient feud between the happy couple’s respective families is still ongoing.
Jordan–skeptical of the claim and trying to prove close family friend Noah Clayborne wrong when he claims she’s trapped inside her comfort zone–sets out on a spontaneous adventure to investigate in Serenity, Texas, and finds herself in unexpected danger.
While navigating a close-knit community where everyone knows everyone else’s business, she discovers a powerful thug ruling by fear, a man with a secret, and encounters an unexpected romance.
Even when she’s back in Boston, her life is still at risk, and she’s put to the ultimate test as she attempts to deal with her feelings along with imminent danger.
Murder List (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
In Murder List, Regan Hamilton Madison, a hotel heiress, becomes entangled in potentially deadly business after receiving a graphic crime-scene photo in her email.
Alec Buchanan, a Chicago detective, is tasked with acting as Regan’s bodyguard. Soon, the two of them become entangled in an intricate web of danger and desire as brutal murders seem to stalk Regan’s every move.
Regan assumes that her trouble started when she agreed to help a journalist friend expose a self-help guru who preys on lonely, vulnerable women. Dr. Lawrence Shields may be responsible for the death of one of his devotees, even if it was ruled a suicide.
Hoping to find damning evidence, Regan attends one of Shields’ seminars, where he asks his guests to make a list of the people who have hurt or deceived them over the years and then burn the list.
However, after the first person on Regan’s list is found dead, she realizes that someone has turned her private revenge fantasies into reality.
And it’s up to her to figure out who it is.
Heartbreaker (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
In Heartbreaker, a madman shares his plans to commit his next murder with Father Thomas Madden, pulling him in for a sick and twisted game by revealing that his next victim will be Tom’s sister, Laurant.
Frantic and desperate to protect her, Tom calls his best friend, elite FBI agent Nick Buchanan, for help to track the predator before he can get to Laurant.
An electrifying attraction grows between Laurant and Nick, but one wrong move will cost someone their life.
Ransom (Highlands’ Lairds Series)
After her family is torn apart by a power-hungry British ruler, Baron Alford, Gillian seeks to reclaim her home and her family’s reputation.
With the help of Scottish chieftains Ramsey Sinclair and Brodick Buchanan, and new ally Bridgid KirkConnell, Gillian fights against the ruthless Baron.
Along the way, she forms friendships and experiences unexpected romance. Set in the dark days after the death of Richard the Lionhearted, this historical romance is full of love and betrayal.
The Bride (Lairds’ Brides Series)
In medieval Scotland, Alec Kincaid, a powerful laird, must take an English bride by royal decree, and he chooses the beautiful but headstrong Jaime.
As hunger burns inside him, he aches to touch her, and despite their initial clash, he’s determined to win her heart.
But the fierce and feisty Jaime is equally determined not to surrender to him.
However, as danger threatens Jamie’s life and rumors about Alec’s past and the death of his former wife spread, their relationship becomes even more complicated.
The Gift (Crown’s Spies Series)
Sara Winchester eagerly awaits the return of her husband, Nathan, Marquess of St. James, unaware of the centuries-old feud that split her family apart from his own or his past as the notorious pirate, Pagan.
Despite never having devoted himself to a woman, Nathan can’t help being captivated by Sara’s innocence and sweet defiance, but their love is soon tested by a conspiracy in England that threatens to rip them apart.
Fast Track (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
If you’re a fan of the best friend’s brother trope, you’ll love Fast Track!
Cordelia Kane’s mother passed away in a car crash when she was only two, so she’s devastated when her father has a serious heart attack, and the emotion is only intensified when he reveals the shocking truth about her mother.
When Cordelia discovers that the answers to her questions lie in Sydney, Australia, she travels there to get them–with her best friend’s brother, who’s oblivious to the feelings she’s had for him for years.
Aiden Madison is a hotel magnate who has unknowingly put Cordelia’s life at risk. He’s recently angered a powerful congressman who doesn’t intend to let Aiden’s refusal to give him what he wants slide.
Sparks fly between Cordelia and Aiden as Aiden tries to get them both out of harm’s way before he ends up losing the woman he loves.
Sweet Talk (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
Olivia Mackenzie is a powerful attorney and IRS agent on the trail of an elaborate Ponzi scheme that threatens to ruin the lives of innocent victims. However, after asking the wrong questions, Olivia’s own life is put in danger, forcing her to call for reinforcements.
She’s used to fighting for other people but being vulnerable herself is a whole other can of worms. On top of that, when she meets FBI Agent Grayson Kincaid, the attraction between them is immediate.
They make a formidable team to fight corruption, but Olivia struggles with her intense feelings for Grayson, rapidly losing the battle against her own emotions as Grayson falls for her just as well.
Other Books by Julie Garwood (In order from best to worst)
- Sizzle (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
- Come the Spring (Claybornes of Rose Hill Series)
- One White Rose (Claybornes of Rose Hill Series)
- For the Roses (Claybornes of Rose Hill Series)
- The Secret (Highlands’ Lairds Series)
- The Wedding (Lairds’ Brides Series)
- Rebellious Desire (Standalone novel)
- Grace Under Fire (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
- Killjoy (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
- One Red Rose (Claybornes of Rose Hill Series)
- One Pink Rose (Claybornes of Rose Hill Series)
- Guardian Angel (Crown’s Spies Series)
- A Girl Named Summer (Standalone novel)
- Wired (Buchanan-Renard-MacKenna Series)
- Shadow Music (Highlands’ Lairds Series)
- What’s a Girl to Do? (Girls of Canby Hall Series)
From swoon-worthy romance to riveting suspense, with a career spanning 38 years and over 30 books to her name, there’s something for everyone in Julie Gardwood’s books! I hope this ranking of her novels can act as the ultimate guide to finding your next page-turner!
Is Julie Garwood still writing books?
Yep! Garwood published her first book, Gentle Warrior, in 1985 and has continued publishing novels ever since. Her latest novel, Grace Under Fire, was published in 2022.
Is there a sequel to The Bride by Julie Garwood?
Yes. The sequel to Gawrood’s classic novel, The Bride, is The Wedding.
Is Grace Under Fire by Julie Garwood a series?
Grace Under Fire is a part of one of Garwood’s beloved series, the Buchanan-Renard series. It’s the fourteenth novel in the series.
What genre is Julie Garwood?
Garwood predominantly writes in the Young Adult Romance genre. She also writes Historical Romance and Romantic Suspense.
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